Calming Pre-Foundation Primer
1.7 fl. oz. for $29
Last Updated:07.19.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Unknown
Review Overview

What a misstep from NP Set, a brand known for their foundation primers! Calming Pre-Foundation Primer is a bad idea from the get-go. It's supposed to fix problems, but only succeeds in creating them.

This primer does glide on smoothly, giving skin a silky base for foundation, which is good, but not enough. Its green tint is supposed to correct redness—the result is that redness is eliminated, but only because it's covered by a slight green cast, even after the primer's been blended into the skin, and green isn't any better a color for skin than red.

We tried putting foundation over it, but even after that there was still a visible green tint—even worse, in sunlight you can see green micro-shimmer coming through the foundation! It's not a natural look in the slightest, but it would be fine if you want your makeup to say: "I just got off the boat, and am a bit seasick"!

The biggest mistake NP Set makes with this primer, though, is its ingredients. It has the standard mix of silicones and moisturizing agents, but this "Calming" primer also includes peppermint leaf extract, a known irritant. For those who suffer redness and irritation (Heck, for anyone!), this is one of the last things you should be putting on your face!

Calming Pre-Foundation Primer is an all-around bust, and definitely not worth the price. You're much better off checking out our list of Best Foundation Primers.

  • None.
  • Color is a green shade that remains even after it's been blended well into the skin.
  • Primer gives a green cast to foundations applied over it, and contains green micro-shimmer that comes through products applied over it.
  • Contains peppermint leaf extract, a known irritant, as well as the fragrant ingredient ethylene Brassylate, which can increase irritation.
  • Expensive.

Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Silica, Butylene Glycol, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Isododecane, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Hexyl Laurate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Nylon-12, Magnesium Sulfate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Alcohol Denat., Polymethyl Methacrylate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Trihydroxystearin, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Acrylates Copolymer, Cellulose Gum, Ethylene Brassylate, Squalane, Diphenyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Isopropyl Myristate, Polysorbate 60, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Sodium Phosphate, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Chromium Oxide Greens, Mica, Titanium Dioxide.

Brand Overview

NP Set At-A-Glance

Strengths: In-store testers; one very good concealer; some good lip products; great cream blush.

Weaknesses: Overpriced for what you get; no sunscreen in the foundation products; no good eyeshadow options; Lip Plumper contains several potent irritants; healing claims about certain product ingredients are nonsense; one really messy loose-powder eyeshadow.

NP Set brings us another mass-marketed cosmetic line created by a well-known makeup artist whose celebrity following is touted as an enticement for you to buy his products. This line is the creation of Australian-born makeup artist Napoleon Perdis, a man whose views on makeup and whose alleged skills have basically made him the Kevyn Aucoin of Australia (although so far without the countless celebrity accolades Aucoin earned). We say "alleged" because we haven't yet seen evidence that Perdis's makeup artistry skills compare with those of the late, great Aucoin (who styled his work based on the teachings of famous and brilliant 1970s makeup artist Way Bandy), although Perdis is certainly well-known in his native country.

Perdis created his first namesake line, a prestige-priced group of products, in the mid-90s. That line is still distributed in Australia, but a few years back NP Set was launched for mainstream distribution. You're supposed to make the association that buying Perdis's less expensive line of products will still help you achieve the celebrity style that his prestige line does. Well, that is no more possible with NP Set than buying a designer dress will help you look like a runway model.

Target is the exclusive brick-and-mortar retailer for the NP Set line, and given the pricing it appears that Target wants to change the image of its cosmetics aisles to compete with department store counters. It will be interesting to see if consumers buy into this pricing increase because truly there is nothing about cost that necessarily reflects quality, not at the drugstore and not at the cosmetic counter, and definitely not with NP Set products. Rimmel, Sonia Kashuk, L'Oreal, Revlon, Cover Girl, and Maybelline all have brilliant options that put NP Set's selections to shame.

Along with NP Set, Target launched two other small makeup lines from other international makeup artists—Jemma Kidd from England and Pixi, which is from Swedish makeup artist Petra Strand (although her line began in London)—and from any perspective, that's three new lines too many. None offers anything worthy of your special attention, but all three are priced to make you think they must be a head above the rest (but, as you might suspect, they aren't).

Perdis peddles his line as being 98% paraben-free (which obviously means it's not 100% free, which is an odd way to state that indeed some of his products do contain parabens so don't buy those if you're concerned about these preservatives). He also highlights the organic ingredients in his products with beguiling descriptions, but his products are neither natural nor organic in the least, and they are neither superior nor specially formulated when compared with any competing products on the shelves nearby.

The best feature of the NP Set collection is the tester units in the Target stores. Considering the ups and downs of the products in this line, you definitely need to test the products before purchasing! When all is said and done, we wouldn't suggest you be too quick to open your pocketbook for Perdis—at least not before you explore similarly priced items at Target or at the drugstore, many of which have more favorable qualities than NP Set.

For more information about NP Set call (888) 732-9111.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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